With diners taking their first cautious steps back into restaurants this summer, millions of Canadians will soon be grappling with a familiar pre-pandemic problem: ordering a bottle of wine.
On top of taste preferences and food-pairing concerns, one of the biggest factors that goes into the decision tends to be price. Many diners opt for either the house wine or the cheapest one on the menu. Oenophiles, meanwhile, tend to reach for something more pricey, but most diners go for something in the middle — with no idea where the best bang for the buck lies.
A recent study from British researchers at the London School of Economics and the University of Sussex attempts to answer that age-old question — and the numbers hint at some counterintuitive conclusions.
The researchers looked at 249 restaurants in London that had wine lists posted online. In total, the restaurants that were examined had 6,335 different bottles of wine listed online — a large database that the researchers were able to cross-reference against retail prices for those same bottles.
In a finding that will come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever ordered a bottle of wine to go with dinner, the price of a restaurant wine was found to be, on average, about 300 per cent more than it would cost at the retail level. And while markups vary depending on the restaurant and type of wine, there were some broad trends in the numbers that drinkers may want to quaff.
‘Is the second-cheapest particularly bad?’
A well-trod urban legend has it that the most popular wine on a restaurant wine list is often the second-cheapest, because most people like the idea of buying a cheap wine, but not necessarily the cheapest. “It is based on the idea that people don’t like looking cheap when they sit in a restaurant,” said Vikram Pathania, an associate professor of economics at the University of Sussex who co-authored the report.
“You don’t want to go to the cheapest because, well, your dining partner or the waiter stare at you … so you study the wine list hard and long — then go to the second anyway,” he said in an interview with CBC News.
Following that logic, conspiratorially minded diners have long suspected that restaurants are aware of that impulse and will therefore adjust their wine list so that the wine that is cheapest for them to acquire will be priced second-cheapest to compel diners to buy it, in order to maximize their profit.
“The argument goes that people who run restaurants know this, and they can actually charge a fat markup on the second, exploiting this stigma of ordering the cheapest,” Pathania said.
But according to his research, the theory doesn’t hold up — the second-cheapest bottle of wine on the menu is actually a decent value, with the markup only about 25 per cent more than one would pay for the cheapest bottle of plonk on the menu.
“To be fair, you are being ripped off if you buy bottles of wine in the restaurant. But the question is: Is the second-cheapest particularly bad? And no, it’s not particularly,” Pathania said.
Where diners really get corked, the data suggests, is when they order wines numbered three through six on the menu. Then the markup can be more than 50 per cent higher, on average, than the best bargain on the list.
Markups in absolute terms are obviously higher for the most expensive bottles, but in percentage terms, higher-end wines are actually often a better value than the cheap offerings, the data suggests.
Even better news for frugal foodies is that the cheapest wine does actually tend to be the best value. “The cheapest is actually a relatively low markup, then the second-cheapest is slightly higher. Third is even higher. It kind of peaks in the middle, and then towards the high end, the markups start falling again,” Pathania explained.
Rules different in Canada
Toronto restaurateur Suzanne Barr has run kitchens and restaurants around the world, including more than one in Canada, and she says while it’s true that alcohol sales can be a reliable money-maker for restaurants, they are less of a cash cow in Ontario because of the way the province regulates alcohol via the LCBO.
Unlike many other jurisdictions where restaurants pay wholesale rates, for the most part any business selling alcohol in Ontario pays the same price as drinkers. “What a lot of people don’t understand is that glass of wine that we’re selling for $15, we’re maybe making, I don’t know, $3 or $4 off of,” she said in an interview.
Barr says most restaurant owners craft a wine list the same way they craft a menu, to make sure it follows a theme and goes with the overall atmosphere of the place. But they are obviously aware that there’s money to be made on some bottles over others.
“It’s like having a [go-to] dish on the menu,” she said. “It’s not gonna cost us that much to make, but we know we’re gonna sell a whole ton of these.”
Barr says that with the return of restaurant dining, she suspects customers will be compelled to splurge more than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic and buy that expensive bottle to treat themselves after they’ve been stuck eating at home for so long. “Because maybe when I go to the LCBO or the Wine Rack, I’m just gonna get that Yellowtail because that’s really what I can afford.”
Only time will tell what diners do as they return to eating in restaurants for the first time in more than a year in many parts of Canada, but Pathania’s research offers some helpful advice for the millions of diners about to take the plunge.
“I have a rule of thumb: If you’re paying the bill and you think the cheapest is drinkable, go for the cheapest,” he said.
But given that high-end wines are often less marked up in percentage terms than the cheapest ones, “if there’s a wine you really like and you know your wine, then go for it.”
Stock market news live updates: Stock turn lower following last week's rebound – Yahoo Canada
U.S. stocks closed a choppy session lower Monday, weighed down by losses in technology shares, after the major indexes failed to sustain momentum from last week’s rally.
The S&P 500 fell 0.3%, and Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 60 points, or 0.2% after each benchmark wavered between the red and the green throughout the trading day. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.9%.
The moves follow a sharp rebound Friday that saw the S&P 500 surge 3% during the session and over 6% for the week, its second-best week this year and its first weekly rise since late May. Still, the benchmark index is on pace for its worst opening six months since 1970.
During the previous session, the Dow rose more than 800 points, or 2.7%, while the Nasdaq increased by more than 3.3%, leading to weekly gains for the indexes of more than 5% and 7%, respectively.
Some Wall Street strategists are hopeful that markets may have found a bottom.
“As bad as [this year] has been for investors, the good news is previous years that were down at least 15% at the midway point to the year saw the final six months higher every single time, with an average return of nearly 24%,” LPL Financial chief market strategist Ryan Detrick said in a note last week.
J.P. Morgan strategist Marko Kolanovic also predicted that U.S. equities may climb as much as 7% this week as investors rebalance portfolios amid the end of the month, second quarter, and first half of the year.
While sentiment on Wall Street appears optimistic, investors are in for a bevy of key economic reports and earnings that may sway markets this week and put hopes of a comeback to the test.
Quarterly results from Nike (NKE) and Micron (MU) will be closely watched for signs of rising inventories and slowing orders like Target and some other retailers have warned about recently, which may renew worries of an economic slowdown among Corporate America.
Traders also face a fairly loaded economic calendar this week, with the latest read on core PCE inflation – the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of consumer prices, the Conference Board’s consumer sentiment survey, and manufacturing and housing reports due out through Friday.
On the move
Robinhood Markets (HOOD)‘s stock surged 14% to close at $9.12 per share following a report from Bloomberg that cryptocurrency exchange FTX is considering a deal to acquire digital trading platform. Earlier in the day, Robinhood was in the spotlight after Goldman Sachs upgraded the brokerage to Neutral, about two months after the bank downgraded shares to Sell.
Coinbase (COIN) shares plunged nearly 10.8% to $55.96 after analysts at Goldman Sachs on Monday downgraded the cryptocurrency exchange to Sell from Neutral and slashed their price target on the stock to $45 from $70. Goldman also noted that while Coinbase recently announced it would cut 18% of staff, these layoffs will not be enough to bring the company’s costs in line with lowered sales.
AMC Entertainment (AMC) rallied to cap trading up 13.6% despite a turbulent session for the broader markets. The stock rose amid increased mentions across forums such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets and Stocktwits. AMC was also added to the Russell 1000 Index after an annual rebalancing.
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc
Man uses Apple Airtags to find stolen Range Rover | CTV News – CTV News Toronto
An Ontario man whose car was stolen from his driveway in midtown Toronto twice in three months is revealing how he tracked and located his second vehicle.
“It’s pretty scary, but you can’t live your life in fear,” Lorne, whose surname CTV News Toronto has omitted due to safety concerns, said on Monday.
On April 1, his family moved to the Avenue Road and Lawrence Avenue area.
The following day, employees from an electronics company arrived at his house to install televisions. He placed the keys of his Range Rover Autobiography into a faraday box, which is designed to prevent criminals from copying a key fob and gaining access to a vehicle.
However, within minutes of the employees leaving his house, his car was stolen in broad daylight.
“The thieves were able to disable the tracker in my car, put there by the manufacturer,” Lorne said.
Meanwhile, his wallet, along with his kids phones, which were in the car, were thrown out of the vehicle before it was stolen, which Lorne said he believes was a preventive measure to avoid him from tracking the location of his car.
His Range Rover was never recovered.
Thirty days later, he got a new car of the same model, but this time, he placed three Apple AirTag tracking devices inside – one in the glovebox, another in his spare tire in the trunk and a third under his back seat.
While Lorne said he typically parks in his garage, last Wednesday night, he didn’t.
At 8:30 a.m. the next morning, he said his kids ran into his bedroom screaming, ”Daddy, daddy, your car is gone.”
Right away, he logged into his Find My app and located all three of his AirTags near Manville and Comsock roads in Scarborough, listed as a metal recycling plant.
After dropping his kids at school, he headed to that location and called the police. With no success reaching an officer, he drove to the 41 Division police station.
Toronto police spokesperson David Hopkinson confirmed to CTV News Toronto that a report of this nature was received by police on Thursday.
“I pressed my panic button and you heard it going off,” Lorne said. “The next day I was told they recovered nine cars.”
Due to an ongoing investigation, police could not comment further on the incident.
This time, however, Lorne said police recovered his vehicle and he anticipates it should be back in his possession soon.
While he said his AirTags worked in this case, he anticipates car thefts will only get increasingly sophisticated.
“It’s not foolproof,” he said.
Company buying Trump's social media app faces subpoenas – Yahoo Canada Finance
NEW YORK (AP) — The company planning to buy Donald Trump’s new social media business has disclosed a federal grand jury investigation that it says could impede or even prevent its acquisition of the Truth Social app.
Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. dropped almost 10% Monday as the company revealed that it has received subpoenas from a grand jury in New York.
The Justice Department subpoenas follow an ongoing probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission into whether Digital World broke rules by having substantial talks about buying Trump’s company starting early last year before Digital World sold stock to the public for the first time in September, just weeks before its announcement that it would be buying Trump’s company.
Trump’s social media venture launched in February as he seeks a new digital stage to rally his supporters and fight Big Tech limits on speech, a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
The Trump Media & Technology Group — which operates the Truth Social app and was in the process of being acquired by Digital World — said in a statement that it will cooperate with “oversight that supports the SEC’s important mission of protecting retail investors.”
The new probe could make it more difficult for Trump to finance his social media company. The company last year got promises from dozens of investors to pump $1 billion into the company, but it can’t get the cash until the Digital World acquisition is completed.
Stock in Digital World rocketed to more than $100 in October after its deal to buy Trump’s company was announced. The stock closed at $25.16 Monday.
Digital World is a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, part of an investing phenomenon that exploded in popularity over the past two years.
Such “blank-check” companies are empty corporate entities with no operations, only offering investors the promise they will buy a business in the future. As such they are allowed to sell stock to the public quickly without the usual regulatory disclosures and delays, but only if they haven’t already lined up possible acquisition targets.
Digital World said in a regulatory filing Monday that each member of its board of directors has been subpoenaed by the grand jury in the Southern District of New York. Both the grand jury and the SEC are also seeking a number of documents tied to the company and others including a sponsor, ARC Global Investments, and Miami-based venture capital firm Rocket One Capital.
Some of the sought documents involve “due diligence” regarding Trump Media and other potential acquisition targets, as well as communications with Digital World’s underwriter and financial adviser in its initial public offering, according to the SEC disclosure.
Digital World also Monday announced the resignation of one of its board members, Bruce Garelick, a chief strategy officer at Rocket One.
The Associated Press
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